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May 28, 2005
The ICC has confirmed that Harbhajan Singh, the Indian offspinner, will be able to continue to bowl in international cricket, provided he uses an action consistent with the one he exhibited in the biomechanical tests conducted at the University of Western Australia in February.
The decision follows a report from Marc Portus, the independent biomechanist, who conducted a further analysis of Harbhajan's action after he was reported during the recent series against Pakistan.
Portus's report identified several differences in the actions employed by Harbhajan during the match against Pakistan and the one analysed at the university. However, it was unable to reach a definitive conclusion on the action used in the Pakistan match.
Dave Richardson, the former South African wicketkeeper who is now the ICC's cricket general manager, said that while the differences in the actions were identified, Portus had advised that he could not reach a conclusive decision because of differences in the footage quality and the camera angles.
"There is no doubt that the action analysed in the university showed Harbhajan bowling with an action that is in accordance with the regulations," said Richardson. "The analysis of the action used during the Pakistan match identifies some differences, including the position of the feet and the speed of the delivery. However, Portus was unable to reach a definitive conclusion on the action used against Pakistan because of the quality of the footage and the camera angles used. On this basis the ICC has advised the BCCI that Harbhajan is able to bowl in international cricket, provided his action is consistent with that used in the laboratory."
But Richardson added: "Should his action deteriorate, it is possible that the match referees would again report him and this would raise the prospect of further biomechanical analysis."
SK Nair, the BCCI's honorary secretary, said that his board "welcomes the ICC decision to allow Harbhajan to bowl in international cricket. BCCI firmly believes that no bowler is licensed to throw. But at the same time, if a prima facie case cannot be established against the bowler, he should be allowed to play with a free mind. This cricket-friendly decision would not only lift the morale of Harbhajan, but also the other bowlers around the globe."
So that Harbhjan can be given the opportunity to understand the concerns raised in the Portus report, the BCCI has accepted an offer from the ICC for Richardson to meet with Harbhajan and his coach, to go through the specific points raised.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.